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July 2011

Comparing Prosperity Mine Assessments

28 July, 2011

On 20 July 2011, only a week after a recent audit into the post-certification stage of B.C.’s environmental assessment process, the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research released a report by long-time environmental lawyer, Mark Haddock, and funded through our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund, comparing the British Columbia and Federal Environmental Assessments for the controversial Prosperity Mine.  By comparing-and-contrasting the results reached on each of 8 environmental impacts which the federal process identified as "significant", Haddock identifies 9 differences between the two environmental assessment processes which may help to explain and account for the two very different outcomes.

In terms of news about Environmental Assessment, it never rains but it pours. 

Auditor General critical of Environmental Assessment Follow Up

28 July, 2011

On 7 July 2011, John Doyle, the Auditor General of British Columbia, released an audit examining the post-certification stage of the environmental assessment process, which is conducted in B.C. by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The audit was critical of the effectiveness of the EAO’s oversight and Mr. Doyle concluded very frankly that:

Adequate monitoring and enforcement of certified projects is not occurring and follow-up evaluations are not being conducted [by the EAO]. We also found that information  currently being provided to the public is not sufficient to ensure [public] accountability.

Although not binding, the provincial government has accepted the audit’s six recommendations. We applaud the government for responding positively to the report, and look forward to an improved post-certification process.

On 7 July 2011, John Doyle, the Auditor General of British Columbia, released an audit examining the post-certification stage of the environmental assessment process, which is conducted in B.C. by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The audit was critical of the effectiveness of the EAO’s oversight and Mr.

BC law fails to protect fish habitat

26 July, 2011

A BC Court of Appeal decision issued earlier this month (July 5th) has confirmed that the province’s Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) by itself provides little legal protection for fish habitat.  The RAR is the province’s primary legal tool to protect fish habitat from development located immediately next to streams and lakes, and this decision should be very troubling to anyone concerned about the environment and the protection of fish.  However, the Court of Appeal’s decision illustrates real and serious problems with the RAR that West Coast Environmental Law first identified when it was enacted in 2005.

A BC Court of Appeal decision issued earlier this month (July 5th) has confirmed that the province’s Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) by itself provides little legal protection for fish habitat.  The RAR is the province’s primary legal tool to protect fish habitat from development located immediately next to streams and lakes, and this decision should be very troubling to anyone concerned about the environment and the protection of fish.  However, the Court of App

“No ‘elsewhere’ to go”

22 July, 2011

The Dene Tha’ First Nation has sought an order from the B.C. Supreme Court declaring that the provincial government breached its constitutional duty to consult with and accommodate the Dene Tha’, when the Ministry of Energy authorized the sale of twenty-one oil and gas parcels within the Dene Tha’s traditional territory in northeastern B.C. in June, 2010. The sale of the parcels has the potential to adversely affect the treaty and Aboriginal rights of the Dene Tha’, which are constitutionally protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and include Treaty 8 rights to hunt, fish, and trap within the Treaty territory.

Dene Tha’ First Nation Challenges the Sale of Oil and Gas Parcels on their Traditional Territory

Halalt Nation’s win protects Chemainus River

19 July, 2011

Last week (on July 13th), Madame Justice Wedge of the BC Supreme Court sided with the Halalt First Nation and suspended plans to pump water from the Chemainus aquifer to be used in the District of North Cowichan.  The decision raises fundamental questions about how we manage water, and our assumption that there will always be clean water available for development.  West Coast Environmental Law is proud to have supported the Halalt First Nation in their legal challenge through a series of grants from our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF).

Last week (on July 13th), Madame Justice Wedge of the BC Supreme Court sided with the Halalt First Nation and suspended plans to pump water from the Chemainus aquifer to be used in the District of North Cowichan.  West Coast Environmental Law is proud to have supported the Halalt First Nation in their legal challenge through a series of grants from our Environmental Dispute Resolutio